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Marine Ecology Progress Series



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ABSTRACT: We examined the invasion risk posed by active invertebrates and their diapausing stages (e.g. resting eggs, quiescent adults) carried in residual sediment and water of non-ballasted ships to Chesapeake Bay. Many taxa were recorded that are not native to Chesapeake Bay, supporting the contention that residual ballast represents an invasion vector of some risk to marine systems. Composition and propagule supply differed relative to that in ships entering the Laurentian Great Lakes (e.g. marine taxa dominated in Chesapeake Bay ships), indicating that risk varies geographically. Average abundances of active invertebrates in residual sediment (1002.1 ind. kg–1) and water (2.7 ind. l–1), and diapausing eggs in sediments (779.4 eggs kg–1), were typically low relative to those in ships entering the Great Lakes (1322.5 ind. kg–1, 10.9 ind. l–1 and 3650.0 eggs kg–1, respectively). However, due to high variability among ships, differences were not statistically significant. The major cause of composition and abundance differences is dissimilar trade routes between each system, with vessels entering Chesapeake Bay primarily originating from marine rather than freshwater ports, and because diapausing stages are less commonly found among marine invertebrates. Low propagule supplies, predominant intra-continental ship movements, and salinity disparity between the upper (20 to 28‰) and lower (3 to 8‰) regions of Chesapeake Bay (where ballast water is loaded and offloaded) may greatly reduce invasion risk and be a contributing factor to the bay’s low invasion rate: invasion risk from non-ballasted ships here may be low relative to hull fouling or ballast water discharge. Other marine coastal areas may be at greater risk from this vector.



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